Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network has added four practices. With these advisors its independent brokerage arm, FiNet, has over 1,100 owners and advisors in more than 540 practices,  with over $55.5 billion in assets under management.

The newcomers all come from major firms:

  • Capstone Wealth Advisors in Salem, Oregon, is comprised of financial advisors Michael Coursey, Rob Norton, Ryan Skogstad and Benny Won. The team left Merrill Lynch, where they managed $250 million in assets.
  • McKinnon Wealth Management in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is led by financial advisors Robert McKinnon, Kevin McKinnon and Matthew Wright. They most recently worked at UBS, managing $204 million in assets.
  • The Luts and Greenleigh Group in Bethesda, Maryland, is headed by financial advisors David Greenleigh and Brian Luts. They come from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where they managed $183 million in assets.
  • Meli Fox Wealth Management in Westlake Village, California, is comprised of financial advisors Stephen Meli and Dennis Fox. They join from Merrill Lynch, with combined assets under management of $166 million.

“We’re already ahead of last year in recruiting,” Kent Christian, president of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, told Financial Planning. In 2011, FiNet added 70 independent practices and 152 financial advisors. “This year will be our second-best year for recruiting,” Christian said, “trailing only 2009, which was a post-apocalyptic time in the industry, with many advisors making moves.”

When asked why FiNet continues to attract producers from major firms, in a relatively calm year, Christian cited the confluence of three trends.

“First,” Christian said, “we have the Wells Fargo brand. For many advisors coming from a major firm, that’s an important consideration.”

Second, along with the Wells Fargo brand comes the Wells Fargo platform. “Advisors who are used to having a robust platform are loathe to give it up,” Christian said.

FiNet advisors have full access to the platform of Wells Fargo Advisors, and to offerings of the parent bank.

“Finally,” Christian said, “we work with advisors who have made the decision to own and run their own business. Generally, our advisors come from firms where they were employees. We help them make the transition, and we provide financial support in certain circumstances. There are other good brands, other robust platforms, and other independent broker-dealers. However, if all three are important to an advisor, we’re the answer.”